Every pop star experiences ups and downs in show business. For Donny Osmond, he experienced some of the worst elements of fame while he was at the peak of his young career.
Donny Osmond recently revealed how he was bullied by media and other performers for his “family, health and moral code.”
Now 58 years old, Donny reflects on his teen years in the spotlight. “I was 14 or 15, doing my gig, and it’s working. I’m one of the biggest teeny boppers in the world, and Rolling Stone magazine comes out with an article which says ‘the worst day in rock ’n’ roll history was the day Donny Osmond was born,'” Osmond said. “A teenager is just trying to figure out who he is, let alone having that. That’s the ultimate bullying. It really hurt me.”
Originally rising to fame as the breakout star from The Osmonds, his family’s famous music group, Donny achieved his superstar status around the same time as Michael Jackson and Prince. Comparing him to the pop star lifestyle, the media mocked Donny for not drinking or smoking, sticking to his family name, and living a clean lifestyle.
“I remember having long conversations with Prince at Paisley Park. He was interested in the details of my life, my family. Michael was the same way,” Donny recalled. “One of the things I pride myself on is normalcy in a world which is anything but normal. And I think they were completely interested in how I balanced my life.”
“Maybe they were looking to me for guidance,” Donny said. “It’s very easy to lose it mentally and get caught up in your own hype. I was one of the biggest teeny boppers back in the day, and that can really mess up your mind.”
However, his commitment to his values helped to keep him stable. “I’ve been married 38 years—that is a little unusual in showbiz. Five wonderful sons. Eight wonderful grandbabies. It was satisfying.”
Osmond, who married his wife Debbie in 1978, was 20 years old when he decided to start his family. Instead of skyrocketing to more fame, his career calmed down in his twenties, partly due to his fans growing up. Mocked for his image and his clean pop music, many critics believed he was a one-hit wonder.
However, Donny’s career was far from over. He has reached further success by performing a Vegas show with his sister Marie for almost eight years. Taking a break from the microphone to put on his dancing shoes, he competed in and won Dancing with the Stars in 2009 with partner Kym Johnson. Celebrating 50 years as a performer, he sings sold-out shows for The Soundtrack of My Life tour.
For Donny, he finds that success doesn’t just occur in the music business. He also attributes his happiness to his health and family.
“I could spend eight days a week in Vegas but I‘ve got a jet, and I can be home in an hour,” he says. “It’s a very fast-paced lifestyle but in order to keep my personal life together, which I treasure, I do it. I won’t let anything get in the way of that.”
He also keeps up with his healthy lifestyle, saying, “I’m always working out, I’m very careful what I eat. The Mormon lifestyle helped me because I don’t smoke or drink. I’m really very, very careful.”
Despite being mocked, his healthy lifestyle and abstinence from drugs and alcohol helped him outlive Michael Jackson and Prince. He reacted to the bullying he experienced from the media, saying, “I’ve been made fun of my entire life about things like family, my health code and moral code. And it’s like: ‘In your face everybody, I’m the last one laughing. I’m the last one standing.'”
However, Donny considered Michael Jackson a good friend, and mourned the superstar’s death. About a year before Jackson’s death, Donny visited him at Neverland.
“He wasn’t in a good state,” Donny said. “You could see in his face he was very worried about a lot of things.”
When Donny spoke to Michael for the last time, he remembers, “I was on tour, the phone rings and it was ‘Hi Donny.’ He said he couldn’t tell anyone where he was, he was in hiding with his kids in a big touring bus. I said he should come to me, he said he needed it—but he never came.”
Donny’s commitment to family, good health, and his moral code continue to keep him grounded and stable, rather than causing his downfall. No matter the hype and fame surrounding him, Donny hopes to remain a positive influence in the music industry. By staying true to his values, despite mocking and bullying, Donny realizes that success means more than positive reviews or general acceptance.
“The things people mock keep me stable,” he said.
Donny, who still loves performing, will continue his tour, The Soundtrack of My Life, through 2017.